High-tech helmet, low-flying aircraft and artificial intelligence

Exciting surveying and geoinformatics projects at HFT Stuttgart

Do you know what a multiple camera system records in a low-flying aircraft, what a mixed reality construction helmet can do or how artificial intelligence supports the restructuring of geometry and geoinformation data of an entire operational infrastructure?
Answers to these and many other such exciting questions were provided by the students in the bachelor's degree program in surveying and geoinformatics with the presentations on their bachelor's theses.

The economy does not miss out on this idea potential - accordingly, the interest of practical representatives was high at the presentation of this year's theses of the HFT students. The Bachelor's theses are often supported by supervisors from the private sector and thus directly pass through a corresponding practical suitability thematically.

Survey drone vs. low-flying aircraft?

The suitability of flights with surveying drones for various applications was the subject of several final theses this year, as there is a high demand for high-resolution aerial images for surveying and inspection, for example of powerlines or bridges. For this work, a newly developed LIDAR sensor ("3D laser scanner") for drones was also used and tested. Currently, about 79% of the commercially used drones are used in these typical application areas of surveying and geoinformatics (source: VUL market study by Drone Industry Insights October 2018).

In larger measurement areas, however, drones often reach their limits and are replaced by aerial photography. Thus, for a final thesis, the question was: how low can you fly with a Cessna and a new, special imaging flight camera to still get usable images for the survey. This process is demanding in so far as the built-in imaging flight camera actually consists of several cameras, which can lead to other physical effects such as spectral shifts in addition to the well-known motion blur. In the end it turned out that with the most modern image processing software and know-how (civilian) aerial images from an airplane with probably the highest resolution worldwide of approx. 1cm are possible!

High-tech construction helmet

Even if drones are a symbol of modern technology, high-tech in the field of surveying and geoinformatics is not only to be found in the air. Construction sites of all kinds are also becoming increasingly digital. Equipped with a construction helmet + HoloLens glasses, you can now move around construction sites in such a way that the later real buildings are automatically measured and can be displayed as mixed reality for planning. In this way, planned walls of a building can be displayed and checked before they are erected. By networking several such high-tech construction helmets, the construction progress can then also be viewed from different perspectives, compared with the planning and, if necessary, corrected immediately. What sounds like the future is already an exciting reality in surveying!

The high-tech construction helmet of the HFT Stuttgart was used by students to examine the measurement results for their final thesis, which were recorded by the photogrammetric sensors of the HoloLens glasses during the three-dimensional recording of the environment.

Artificial intelligence

The comprehensive, intelligent data management of geoinformatics is required in order to comprehensively record planned structures with the most modern equipment. This topic was also illuminated by a final thesis. An industrial company served as a practical object. With the help of artificial intelligence (AI) functions, it was possible to develop a conversion concept that adapted the extensive geometry and geoinformation data of the entire company infrastructure for the new data structures and requirements in Building Information Modelling (BIM). A mammoth task.

Publish date: 23. March 2021 By Katrin Fuchs & Jörg Hepperle ()